McCain, Murkowski signal support for deal on ObamaCare payments

McCain, Murkowski signal support for deal on ObamaCare payments
© Greg Nash
Two holdouts on the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare are throwing their support behind a bipartisan deal to extend payments to insurers after President Trump moved to nix them.
 
Republican Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (Ariz.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Klobuchar, Murkowski introduce legislation to protect consumer health data MORE (Alaska) on Tuesday both praised the agreement to provide two years of the cost-sharing reduction payments.
 
"While this deal certainly doesn’t solve all the problems caused by Obamacare, it shows that good faith, bipartisan negotiations can achieve consensus on lasting reform. ... I look forward to voting in support of this bill," McCain said in a statement.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Murkowski in a separate statement called the proposal a "short-term deal," saying it was "an important step as we work towards long-term solutions."
 
 
The administration said last week that it was nixing the payments because it "cannot lawfully" make them to insurers since they weren't appropriated under the Affordable Care Act.
 
It's not clear if the Alexander-Murray deal can get the 60 votes needed in the Senate, much less win over the more conservative House GOP caucus.
 
 
"We haven't had a chance to think about the way forward yet," McConnell told reporters during a press conference held minutes after the agreement was announced.
 
Alexander will need to win over a significant number of his GOP colleagues, some of whom have been skeptical of supporting a bill that critics view as propping up ObamaCare.
 
The support from McCain and Murkowski marks a shift from the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
 
Murkowski and McCain both voted against the scaled-down ObamaCare repeal plan in July, while McCain also came out against a proposal last month from GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Is US weighing military action against Iran? The Hill's Morning Report - Is US weighing military action against Iran? Trump wishes 'Happy Father's Day to all,' including 'worst and most vicious critics' MORE (S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Supreme Court double jeopardy ruling could impact Manafort MORE (La.) to turn ObamaCare's insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion into a block grant.
 
McCain during his first floor speech after being diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year urged his colleagues to return to "regular order" and include input from both parties.
 
He added on Tuesday that he hopes the agreement from Alexander and Murray is "a sign of increased bipartisanship moving forward."